Why is it that we get in our own way by self-sabotaging our success? Why can’t we keep to goals and get what we want?
Most of us start with good intentions but instead find ourselves struggling, or becoming paralyzed by fear and self-doubt.
It’s not that we don’t have willpower or are lazy, it’s because we’re human–it’s our nature to do this. Our brain is programmed to keep us safe–anything new is perceived as a threat.
Change is scary and it’s easier to stay in our comfort zone.
The downside is if we don’t feel uncomfortable, we’re not growing.
We’re not conscious of these thoughts because they’re stored away in our subconscious mind. We assume we’re in control of our thoughts, but it’s our subconscious mind that’s running the show most of the time. In fact, Bruce Lipton says in his book The Biology of Belief that we use our conscious mind only about five percent of the time.
Most of our beliefs were learned when we were young and we carry them into adulthood. They’re often stories we picked up from our parents like not being good enough or rich people being bad.
Our thoughts create our reality as it’s the choices we make every day that determine how our lives unfold. Thoughts turn into words, which turn into actions; if we do them often enough, they become habits. When we keep doing things the same way, nothing will ever change.
Unfortunately, if you believe something about yourself, you’ll act in accordance; for example, thinking you’re a loser, not worthy, or fat and ugly. Conversely, if you tell yourself something like “I’m a successful businessperson,” you probably will be.
Changing our mindset is key to transformation. Mindset is our inner beliefs upon which we base our view of ourselves and of the world.
The good news is we can change it, but it’s not always easy.
We’re always going to be a work in progress, and I’m definitely not perfect. For example, I don’t like dealing with money, so I avoid it. I also suffer from Shiny Object Syndrome because I get interested in something and don’t follow through. I recently signed up for some classes on how to make videos but didn’t finish them, then quickly moved on to food blogging and Pinterest instead.
Here’s some tips that work for me.
Become Aware of Your Thoughts
Change your thoughts and you change your world. ~ Norman Vincent Peale
The key is to recognize your negative self-talk. If something doesn’t work out for you, like a goal you didn’t reach, ask yourself why. Is it just an excuse? If it’s something like “it was too hard,” there’s probably a limiting belief behind it. It’s helpful to become aware of thoughts we think and the language we use.
We’re our worst critics. Would we say some of the things we say to ourselves to other people? Things like “I’m so stupid”?
When you question these beliefs, you’ll probably discover they’re not true.
- Instead if thinking to yourself “I’m fat,” write out another statement such as “I am the perfect size.” If you think it often enough (or better, say it), it will rewire your brain and you will start to believe it.
- When you feel something negative come up, use the ABC technique: Acknowledge it – Breathe – Choose another path. This allows us to get out of the subconscious mind into the conscious mind and make better decisions.
When we find ourselves not doing what we set out to do, there’s usually a fear behind it. Fear shows up in the form of resistance, which can be procrastination, busyness, denial, blame, and making excuses.
We don’t see we’re behaving this way because we’re protecting ourselves. Often self sabotage is because we’re afraid of failing or what others will think of us.
When we face what we’re denying and deal with it, the fear goes away.
It’s inevitable we won’t always get what we want and there will be failures and losses in life, but it’s how we react to situations that makes the difference.
- Watch the words you use. When you say “should,” “have to,” “trying,” or “can’t,” you’re resisting something.
- Accept what is. When you don’t, you’re in resistance.
You have to push through the discomfort and keep consciously choosing to take action. However, it helps to first have clarity about your vision (dream big) and most important know why you want it. If your why isn’t strong enough, you won’t follow through, plus you might not always like doing what you need to do to get there.
- Instead of setting a goal like you want to make a certain amount of money by a certain date, which sets you up for failure, it’s better to imagine you’ve already achieved it and get in touch with how it feels. Make it very specific and get excited and inspired by it.
- Once you start to change, your mind will see it’s possible, fear will be minimized, you’ll be able to take on more challenges, and it will become easier.
- Take small steps. If you take on too many things you may get overwhelmed and give up. You don’t need to have all the steps figured out and it may necessitate learning new skills or asking for help. Just keep taking action.
- Start today. Pick one thing you want to change like a belief or goal you want to set and work on it every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes–make it fun. It’s also recommended that you tell others what you’re doing.
Meditation and mindfulness help keep us in the present moment where we’re not thinking about the past or worrying about the future. When the mind is still, it’s easier to observe the thoughts that come up. Plus, being mindful opens up space to be aware of life around you, and to tap into your feelings and intuition.
We’re so used to thinking in the same way and doing the same things that it’s hard to see new possibilities. Many people find that working with a coach or mentor helps them see things in a new light and prevents them from slipping back into their comfort zones.
P.S.: If you’re interested in finding out what coaching can do for you, click here to get on my calendar for a free 20-minute discovery session.